I used to think that stress was just a necessary part of being a successful business owner until Mark one day pointed out that being stressed-out doesn’t accomplish a damn thing. It does nothing but make life more difficult. It takes up space in our already busy lives. Stop and think about this for a second. When has anyone attributed stress to their success? When was the last time you associated stress with positivity or productivity? I’m guessing never. Stress is a one-way ticket to heart disease, not success.
STRESS IS EVIL AND UNNECESSARY.
As soon as I realized that stress is unnecessary, I began focusing on doing whatever I could to keep it at bay or out of my life completely.
Here’s what I’ve found works for me:
1. EAT HEALTHY, NUTRIENT-DENSE FOOD.
Crap food leads to crap thoughts, crap energy, crap motivation…crap. And when I feel like crap I get anxiety which leads me straight to stresstown. Eating healthy keeps me clear, focused, productive and feeling great all day long.
2. EXERCISE EVERYDAY.
Whether it’s a 5 mile run or a walk around the block, exercise is key to a clear mind. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, exercise leads me to a productive, stress-free day.
3. DON’T TRY TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE.
It just can’t be done. And trying only means sacrificing your own well-being in the process. Know who and what is most important to you in life and put your time and energy there. Be okay with saying no to everything else.
4. YOU SHOULD BE #1 ON YOUR LIST OF PRIORITIES.
Although it sounds selfish, how can you give your best to your family and business if you are so run down and stressed out that you’ve got nothing to give? Love yourself, nurture yourself first and you’ll have that much more to offer those around you later.
5. GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP.
A good night of quality sleep is better than any performance enhancing drug or drink out there. Less sleep may mean more hours to get things done but more sleep means a higher rate of productivity squeezed in to fewer hours.
6. CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE THAT GETS YOUR the OFF TO THE RIGHT START.
When I wake up and go straight to e-mail, I’m in a funk the rest of the day. Offering myself up to my inbox first thing in the morning is the furthest thing from making myself my #1 priority. I’m letting strangers and clients dictate the course of my day. When I start my day with a healthy breakfast and exercise (two of my top priorities) the rest of my day falls in to place.
7. CREATE A STRESS-FREE ENVIRONMENT.
A few years ago I turned off the e-mail “ding” on all our computers and devices. I had come to realize that no matter how deep I was in other work, that damn noise would trigger me to look at my e-mail which would in turn completely throw off the momentum I had on whatever I was working on. Notifications in general can be a huge distraction and stress-trigger. Turn them off. Look for other stress triggers in your environment and see what you can do to minimize them or get rid of them all together.
8. MAKE IT A GOAL TO NEVER BE IN A RUSH.
Living in the mountains for 8 years, 30 minutes from the nearest town, taught me a lot about slowing down. When we first moved there, I would plan poorly for the amount of time it would take to get to a meeting or job. We’d be rushed which meant I’d be completely stressed out (I HATE being late). Not only did being stressed about being late not accomplish anything (it sure didn’t get us there faster) but poor Mark had to sit next to me in the car dealing with me freaking out all the way there. Over the years, I realized that with our commute, I just needed to plan on it always taking 10 or 15 minutes longer than I thought it would. Sometimes we’d get stuck behind someone driving slow or the weather would be bad or there was a rock slide… or, as is often true, it’s so beautiful out that we want to stop and take some photos. Eventually we were never late to our appointments and were also never in a hurry. Having the time to pull over and admire the beautiful day is something we should all take time to do rather than just hurriedly rushing through every aspect of our day. Slowing down is a sure-fire way to eliminate stress.
9. BE THOUGHTFUL ABOUT MEDIA INPUT.
Media, advertising, news, clickbait…it’s coming at us from every angle every hour of every day. It’s our job to decide what we let in. The media does an incredible job of telling us what to be concerned about, advertising tells us what we should buy, social media tells us what everyone else is doing. But what about you? What do you want? All this noise is occupying our head space and killing our focus and attention on those things that are most important to us. And letting all that noise in is doing nothing but confusing us and stressing us out. Lowering my media input has been an incredible way of reducing stress and focusing on what’s important to me. Try replacing the noise of media with good music. We have music on all day long. Good tunes are a great way to have a productive, enjoyable, stress-free day.
If a high-stress lifestyle is a one-way ticket to heart disease, a low-stress lifestyle is a one-way ticket to joyful living. Take control of the stress in your life, know that it’s unnecessary and can be reduced and start living with less stress and more joy.